Literally literal & metaphorically metaphorical


We were arguing
which of the two of us
would play Aphra Behn

would write the books Aphra Behn
was meant to write
late at night

London a mouse.
You had been Sappho
you said

so it only made sense.
I had been Aristotle
so perhaps it wasn’t my turn yet.

I admit
this is a strange conversation
for a reader to overhear

but when we read
or see in life
things are themselves and metaphors

like the rose
which is the mind’s eye
gouged by the thorns

and restored by the scent.
Have you done your writerly
duties? Have you been strange enough

familiar enough
energetic enough?
Aphra Behn is writing a masterpiece

because of you.
Because of you Aphra Behn has written
several masterpieces.

Of giants and groceries


I used to dream of giants
on the glass island on which I
was born.

On the glass island
I used to live.
Where my mother lives

my little dog
and my family.
But now I have moved where the

ground is green and the trees
are handsome, like the eight foot girls,
the eight foot girls with bare knees,

flying from place to place.
The men in London too,
are beautiful with great

arms and worlds
upon their shoulders.
We each have beauty

and someone will see it
as I see theirs
as you see the beauty

of the ones around you.
On that island of glass
I took Betty to a large field

and there were two giants
battling for Betty
but luckily I had hallucinated them

so neither of them won.
It was quite real.
I think it was because my heart

was broken.
Now I am rushing
through train stations

grateful, yes, but wishing one of these
graceful giants
was willing to carry my

- and me -





Your advances
have taken you to Paris
and you haven’t worked a day
in your life.
Your laughter,
your teeth,
your hair
have taken you
around the world,
first class
I might add.

Mr. Godiva.
Mr. Bodice.
Mr. Silk.
Mr. Ten figures.

We hate you.
Your charm
has taken you to Milan
and staring into the barrel
of a gun I am.
Your lackadaisical command
of the English language
has made you a hit at parties.
What John Donne missed.

Mr. Bergdorf and Goodman.
Mr. Gilbert and George.
Mr. Dolce and Gabanna.
Mr. Lady Gaga Mr. Bananarama.

You eat caviar
with a whale bone
carved out to match
the silver spoon
you were born with.
You drink mimosa for breakfast
and champagne with lunch
and dinner.
You shop
on Madison Avenue
and Kensington
and Rive Gauche.

You have views
of the poor
but you would never
tell anyone.
Blue blooded
well read
but as empty
as a porcelain doll.
A matinee idol.

Mr. Cartier.
Mr. Smooth talking.

made you.
Too sweet,
with a stiff shot of liquor.

Wham bam
thank you mam.
I have heard the fat
lady sing.

But only God knows
where he is
or if he was ever there
other than to embody envy
in order to be tamed.

Mr. Frank Sinatra.
I know it sounds
like I hate you.
I just missed you.
You spoiled me.